If these elections were won by Zanu PF freely and fairly in a clean democratic contest, then I would respect them.
If you believe in democracy as powerfully as I do then you are honour-bound to “take the rough with the smooth”. A Zanu PF victory would sit uneasy with me given its track record and my personal life, but I would respect and accept the result.
But this result is sour and unacceptable. I believe that even the most ardent Zanu PF supporter knows that this election was stolen through fraud and cheating, and not secured by the will of the people.
An Al-Jazeera reporter commented that he had driven all around Harare after the results were announced looking for signs of celebration from Zanu PF supporters and there were none. He tweeted: “Are people waiting for (President Robert) Mugabe to issue a decree: celebrate!”
There were none, because no one voted for Zanu PF or Mugabe in the numbers the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) claims are the outcome. It made me aware of what a bizarre situation we are in: a manufactured political context where the vast majority of the people in our country are forced to accept control and authority from those they do not want.
And the grief and fear of an uncertain future — which recent history tells us is going to be unpleasant — is palpable among all of us. People who usually talk about politics to me freely are silent. They don’t want to discuss the results because the obvious question “What now?” is one that only raises fear and uncertainty. We are all so damn tired of feeling fearful and unsure of our futures.
One person, blessed to have his exams in the last five years said on Twitter in a message directed to David Coltart, outging Education minister: “I wrote my O-level and A-level in a perfect way, no hassle, results came in time, THANK YOU … now I am worried of the future.”
We worry about the future because our past lives, under Zanu PF rule, were so terrible. A short five years ago every Zimbabwean was trapped in a daily struggle just to survive. The list of what we endured is simply incredible — no one can begin to understand how awful it was unless they had lived here.
We collectively experienced one of the world’s worst examples of hyper-inflation; businesses dying on a daily basis; completely empty supermarket shelves and consequently wide-spread starvation; one of the worst cholera epidemics the world has seen as a result of collapsing infrastructure; roads strewn with potholes; divided families as a result of a forced exodus to neighbouring countries; the total collapse of our education and health systems; thousands of businesses and homes deliberately destroyed by Zanu PF government through Operation Murambatsvina; unemployment that is close to 95%; and, on top of all that, grotesque unimaginable violence and torture.
Surely, any sane reasonable person can see that it is illogical and inconceivable that a nation that has endured all that would voluntarily elect the party, a mere five years later, the same party that brought us all to our knees and made our lives a living hell? Or does everyone really think Zimbabweans are that stupid?
What is more incredible is the result that Mugabe awarded himself: five years ago the presidential results were delayed for weeks in the wake of a national revolt against his rule. We all knew why — the “books were being cooked” behind the scenes.
The subsequent manufactured results of March 31 resulted in a presidential run-off, the only chance Mugabe had of still clinging onto power. And the vicious violence that preceded the run-off was a desperate attempt to literally bludgeon an already brutalised nation into allowing him to stay on.
It is simply absurd and farcical that that same nation would now peacefully and legitimately award him a massive 61% victory, and his party a landslide 2/3 majority in parliament — enough, you note, to allow Zanu PF to reverse all the legal gains that we voted for as a nation in 2008.
Zanu PF would like the world to believe that those legal gains, including our brand new constitution, are things the people have suddenly decided they do not want.
Zanu PF would like the world to believe that the liberation message combined with hate and loathing of Western nations has suddenly became appealing in 2013, when exactly those same messages were massively rejected in 2008.
They would like the world to accept that a very elderly man who makes long rambling speeches and seldom refers to concrete policies, is suddenly seen as a viable solution to our country’s substantial woes, when just five years ago we demanded someone else be given a chance. Zanu PF would like us to believe this improbability when it is a biological fact that Mugabe is only going to get older and more frail, and at a much faster rate given his advanced years.
Zanu PF wants the world to believe that even though things had become palpably better for Zimbabweans in the last five years — not all of us, but enough to give real hope — the vast incredible majority of us would suddenly wilfully choose to give Zanu PF the benefit of the doubt again and that we would all want a return to what was pure unadulterated hell.
A Mugabe landslide victory is simply not plausible. To endorse it as credible or fair would be an outrage against a whole population, and a total disregard for the meaning of democracy.
Zimbabweans are not stupid. This election has been stolen. It is an abomination to democracy and a violation of everything sacrosanct to all who believe in the right for people to determine their own futures.
In Muzarabani North — a hot-spot area for violence in 2008 — the result speaks for itself: in 2008 nearly 4 000 people voted for MDC-T, but in 2013 only 600 people did.
Zanu PF would like us to believe that 85% of the people there suddenly saw the light and saw their party as the future solution. This is ridiculous.